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Pillar of the Nation: Photographic Representation of “Modern” Chinese Masculinity in Liangyou

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines how men are visually presented in Liangyou and, through the lens of Liangyou, what Chinese masculinity and modernity were supposed to mean to Chinese people at that time. The male nudes are always interpreted as a spiritual symbol. The chapter provides an overview of the predominant features of the male images in Liangyou without pretending to be exhaustive. Intellectual development is such an important attribute for men that Liangyou even captured and demonstrated it among non-intellectuals. In comparing Liangyou, New Perceptionist stories and Linglong, one cannot help but be struck by the dramatically different versions of Chinese masculinity. In Liangyou, men were the main dish in the banquet of China's modernization, whereas women were only a side salad, albeit a rather colorful one.

Keywords: Chinese masculinity; intellectual development; Liangyou; Linglong; male images; modernity



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